Privatization advocates led Obama transportation review effort

The privatization of transportation infrastructure was supposed to be a Bush administration goal, but based on my (LittleSis-powered) review of Obama’s transition team, it is a major priority of the new administration, as well. All three of the Obama transition team leads charged with reviewing the Department of Transportation are privatization advocates. Not only that, …

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Who is Mort Downey?

LittleSis brings transparency to the quiet names: people who are not necessarily officeholders, who may not be very well-known, but who exert significant influence over the policymaking process. They make decisions and advocate for policies that affect our lives in profound ways, but we are not well-equipped to hold them accountable or understand their sphere …

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Geithner’s chief of staff lobbied Geithner’s Fed?

Mark Patterson, Tim Geithner’s new chief of staff and a former Goldman Sachs lobbyist, appears to have been lobbying the Fed – Geithner was president of the New York Fed – shortly after Bear Stearns collapsed last spring. According to a 2008 lobbying disclosure filing, Patterson – along with Ann Costello and Faryar Shirzad – …

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Irony at Treasury

Is it just me or is it kind of ironic – also brash and stupid – for Tim Geithner to hire a lobbyist who has worked on immigration reform issues as his chief of staff? Shortly after facing questions about the immigration status of his former housekeeper, ABC News reports that Geithner’s new chief of …

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Connecting the DOTs on Wall Street & Infrastructure

Last week, the news broke that infrastructure spending had been cut from the stimulus bill to make way for tax cuts. Congressman Jim Oberstar (D-MN), chairman of the House Transportation Committee, first shed light on this tradeoff — transit funding for tax cuts, essentially — in a speech to the US Conference of Mayors. The …

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Obama Announces Recovery.gov

In first YouTube address (seen below), Obama announced Recovery.gov, a new government website that will catalog how the $825 billion economic stimulus package is spent. OpenCongress notes: Recovery.gov – will soon be transformed into a database for information. This part of Congress’s effort to bring “a historic level of transparency, oversight and accountability” to the …

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WaPo asks: Who Runs Gov?

Yesterday’s launch of WhoRunsGov, a Washington Post site, marks an interesting development in the history of the transparency movement: it is a groundbreaking attempt by mainstream media to shed light on influential social networks through crowdsourcing and data aggregation. From the site: WhoRunsGov.com offers a unique look at the world of Washington through its key …

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What’s next: help us prioritize!

During the building of the LittleSis beta, many good ideas for future projects were brainstormed by the development team and the dozens of colleagues and friends from whom we received advice and feedback. Although much of our time over the coming weeks will be devoted to fixing bugs, improving basic usability, and cleaning up existing …

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New Administration, New Feature

Previously, user-created lists in LittleSis, such as Bush II Administration Officials, had limited value. They basically behaved like meta tags, but clunkier. If you added Paul Wolfowitz to the Bush II list, then the list name would show up on his profile, and someone browsing through members of that list would see Wolfowitz on it …

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“Le facebook inversé”

LittleSis has crossed the pond: Le Monde’s blog Bonne Nouvelle plugged the site today, and France’s first couple showed up soon after. Bonne Nouvelle is big into optimism, and we’re happy the site was presented in that context; LittleSis is all about political hope for our ailing democracy. An excerpt from the post (translation thanks …

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The buzz is building…

All done with being cooped up in alpha land, LittleSis has been making appearances all over the internet today. We’ve been thrilled with the response. It all started with Sunlight’s post, followed by OpenCongress’s piece yesterday. Today Craig Newmark gave the site a shout out on his blog (cross-posted at Huffington Post). The Institute for …

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Why LittleSis Matters

There are thousands of people in the US, and plenty more around the world, who spend every day investigating the ties between people in the upper circles of government and business. These people have diverse backgrounds: investigative journalists, social scientists, political opposition researchers, social justice activists, public interest attorneys, and business intelligence types. There are …

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